Emerson Players

Emerson Church’s Theater Group

Act I—Background

Emerson Players was founded by Don Whittaker, an Emerson member. He was a former theater instructor at a college in Louisiana who had returned to Houston to help care for his ailing father. While at Emerson, he got the idea to start a theater troupe.

The idea was enthusiastically received by a number Emerson members and connected friends and in 2009 Emerson Players was born. When Don died suddenly shortly before casting the Players’ fourth production, all of the Emerson Players stepped up to carry on in Don’s memory.

Act II—Cast and Crew

Emerson Players is an inclusive group. In the spirit of Don, it has tried to include a wide range of ages and acting experience whenever possible. The sets and props, lighting, costumes and sound are all handled by the volunteer cast and crew of the productions. The troupe is always happy for other thespians of whatever age or skill level to join the group! (Some stage crew have turned into actors and usually actors fill in as crew. We are a flexible group!) Some of the Emerson Players have gone on to acting in other community theater productions, but still are “in” for the next Players’ performance.

Act III—Past Performances

Emerson Players has typically put on two productions a year—one being a full-fledged play and the other a shorter play usually in support of December programming.
2009 “Love, Sick and Montezuma’s Gold” by Daris Howard. Directed by Don Whittaker
2009 “The Complete History of America (Abridged)” by Long, Martin, & Tichenor. Directed by Don Whittaker
2010 “Our Funny Valentines. Four one-act plays” directed by Don Whittaker, John Branch, and Clinton Hopper
2010 “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie. Directed by Tamekia Jackson
2011 “Love Letters” by A. R. Gurney. Directed by Ken McLeod
2011 “Varney the Vampire” by Tim Kelly. Directed by Hilary Henderson Ritz
2011 “Manger Danger” by Andrew Hager. Directed by Hilary Henderson Ritz
2012 “The Fox on the Fairway” by Ken Ludwig. Directed by Hilary Henderson Ritz
2012 “The Legend of Uber Pater” by Vanessa Morales-Knight. Directed by Hilary Henderson Ritz
2013 “Dearly Beloved” by Jones, Hope, & Wooten. Directed by Hilary Henderson Ritz
2013 “GBS” written and directed by Anna Louise Bruner
2013 “Midwinter Dream” written and directed by Hilary Henderson Ritz
2014 “Kill Me Deadly” by Bill Robens. Directed by Hilary Henderson Ritz
2014 “Christmas Belles” by Jones, Hope, & Wooten. Directed by Hilary Henderson Ritz
2015 “Angel Street” by Patrick Hamilton. Directed by Hilary Henderson Ritz
2015 “Mary and Joseph Tell the Christmas Story: A dialogue” written by Jill Rose
2016 “The Good Doctor” by Neil Simon. Directed by Courtney Svatek
2017  “The Game’s Afoot: Homes for the Holidays” by Ken Ludwig. Directed by Courtney Svatek
2018 “Drinking Habits” by Tom Smith. Directed by Hilary Henderson Ritz

Act IV–The Don Whittaker Memorial Theater Arts Fund

This Fund was established in his memory to provide seed money for future productions and to contribute to nonprofits organizations, especially those that foster dramatic arts programs for young people when possible.


Contact Stephen Lipp (send email link to ) or Hilary Ritz (send email link to